Corruption Charges Dropped Against Suspended Tamarac Mayor
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FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Suspended Tamarac Mayor Beth Flansbaum-Talabisco is off the hook.
During a hearing Wednesday morning, Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato dismissed the public corruption charges leveled at mayor citing a lack of evidence.
Flansbaum-Talabisco, 57, had been charged with unlawful compensation, bribery, official misconduct and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation.
“I can’t thank the court enough or all the people who supported me, and of course my husband Jack,” said Flansbaum-Talabisco outside the courtroom.
“We were obviously very pleased, we thought all along there hadn’t been any crime committed. The judge ruled that there was no crime and the case against Beth is dismissed,” said Flansbaum-Talabisco’s attorney Larry Davis.
The charges were brought after the State Attorney’s Office claimed Flansbaum-Talabisco secretly accepted $21,000 from developers Bruce and Shawn Chait to support her 2006 campaign. In exchange for the contribution, the state claimed that she voted favorably for the Chaits’ company, Prestige Homes, which wanted to build more than 700 homes on two former golf courses near Florida’s Turnpike and Commercial Boulevard while avoiding paying big money in development fees to the city and Broward School District.
Flansbaum-Talabisco was not the only Tamarac politician to be arrested in connection with Chaits.
Former city commissioner Marc Sultanof was charged in 2010 with six felony counts for reportedly accepting $30,000 from the Chaits in exchange for his commission votes on their project. According to his arrest affidavit, Sultanof received money from the Chaits between March 2006 through January 2007. His improper relationship with the Chaits reportedly continued through November 2008. He reportedly used the bribe to help pay for a 2006 Honda Accord.
Also implicated in the Chaits corruption probe are suspended Broward School Board member Stephanie Kraft and her husband Mitch.
The Krafts are charged with unlawful compensation, bribery and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation. Stephanie Kraft is also charged with official misconduct. Both have pled not guilty.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office said it would appeal the judge’s ruling on Talabisco.